Look for the meaning in what we do
Most of us will hopefully aim to live a happy life where we feel motivated and clearly understand the contribution we make to society and the people around us. However, sometimes we will be at a point in life where we start to look for the meaning in what we do because we are feeling less motivated or generally confused about the contribution we are making.
This is especially relevant right now as we adjust to new ways of working and move to a more hybrid world where many of us are already seeing an increased focus on how we can cut costs or improve productivity. Or within the home where we are trying to look ahead and see what impact the cost of living crisis will have on us and the things we need to do vs the things we like to do.
And as many of the conversations within our coaching sessions currently have a theme where we look for the meaning in what we do, it can be helpful to talk about the changes already taking place and the changes we still need to agree on or plan to make. And this has a real impact on the goals our clients are trying to focus on when other competing activities are moving into focus and need to be prioritized.
As a professional coach you may also be asking yourself these questions or thinking about why you first moved into coaching. For some of us it will have been based on the desire to help or support others to grow and shine, but for many people who move from the corporate world it can be because they want to explore different skills, apply what they have learned in new ways or simply be their own boss and take control of their future. However, others will move away from corporate roles because they felt frustrated or stressed, unable to grow and develop or found that their values no longer align with the organization they worked for.
But no matter what the driver for change, these real-life experiences are valuable life lessons and can really help bring a coaching session to life. The ability to empathize with your client when they are trying to explain how they are feeling can really help unlock the conversation and create a safe space where they can open up and explore why they are feeling this way or what triggers them to feel this way.
However, we know that we can never guarantee that we will always be totally happy or in tune with what we need to do vs what we like to do or enjoy, but taking time out to look for the meaning in what we do can help bring things back into focus and remind us about the things that are important.
It’s never easy to ask somebody to look at what they do and think about why it’s important, especially when we are all still making our way out of the Covid pandemic and now heading into a cost of living crisis. So if you or one of your clients would find it helpful to look for the meaning in what you do, especially when many of us questioned the real benefit of our job in the face of the health crisis, this list of top tips may just be helpful.
Our top tips:
Listen to yourself – Confucius said “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work again in your life” so start by asking your client what they would love to do in life or to make a list of the things they really enjoy doing. Ask them to think about their values, what they would like to achieve in life, the things they are proudest of or what they would like to be remembered for.
Listen to others – Encourage your clients to talk to friends or colleagues and ask them to give some honest feedback on the work they do or the support they give. Get them to explore the things they are most proud of and see if their friends and colleagues agree or if they have other examples of the impact they make on society or the people around them.
Review your socials and personal brand – Knowing exactly who your client is and what they offer can be the key that unlocks the way they look for the meaning in what they do. Look through their CV with them and see if they can spot a golden thread that links it all together. See if they can tell a really compelling story about who they are and if they have a passion for what they do. Look at their socials together and see if they are clear on what they want people to know or think about when they look at who they are online.
Open up to the outside world – Unless your client has a very specific job, chances are their role is going to be really similar to roles in other companies. So encourage them to look on social media for individuals or organizations that share their interests and passions as this can really help broaden their network and connect them with people who know their value or the true meaning in what they do. This can open them up to new conversations or just connect them to like-minded people who may be a great source of inspiration.
Explore your skills and natural talents – This may be just the right time to think about the future and ask your client if they are on the right path or in the right job. So a quick review of their personal and interpersonal skills can really help to identify any key strengths that can then be added to their CV or Resume. And a review of skills will also help uncover their natural talents as they may not know what they find easy or even recognize that this can be a valuable asset.
Never stop learning – Developing their skills, or deepening their knowledge and experiences can really help your client feel as if they do have some value to add or something important to share. By learning something new or exploring something different your client will gain expertise, life skills and self-confidence that can lead to them feeling as if they do have more to give or share. This can help enhance their motivation or satisfaction levels and brings meaning to their everyday life.
Bring your personal and professional life back into balance – When we look for the meaning in what we do it can also be helpful to look at our relationship with time. By asking your client to think about how much time they allocate to different aspects of their life, you can start to help them look for new ways to promote a better balance between their personal and professional life. And hybrid working has fundamentally changed our relationship with work so we no longer look at how we can adapt to the constraints of work the working day.
Reorientate yourself – If at the end of all of this your client finds themselves at a total loss and has no clue what value they add or can’t find meaning in their job or profession, it may be time for them to reconsider the path they are on in life. The tips above are great conversation starters, but may not be enough to help them regain the sparkle and enthusiasm they felt on their first few days at work, so this may be the time for them to reconsider the path they are on and what other options are available.
Reflect back to plan forward – It’s important to remember that nothing in life is ever going to be perfect or go entirely to plan, even if your client does everything they can to try and make things happen in the way they hope it will. And a good coach can help their clients spot an opportunity, set goals and see things through, so they can broaden their scope of possibilities and develop new potential. It’s important for you to work with your clients so they understand how they feel now and how they want to feel (or think they will feel) as a result of any change they are now ready to make as they start to plan ahead.
Be realistic – The other key to this type of conversation is to just be realistic about what is possible when your client is planning ahead by encouraging them to try and not put too many things on hold. Especially if they are waiting for life to return to normal before they feel ready to make any real plans for the future.
In addition to all of the tips above, we have also published an ebook that has three main sections to help you guide your clients through a review of their achievements from the last 12 months. This is normally something we encourage you to do with them at the end of the year, however many clients are at a crossroads right now as they look for the meaning in what they do. And we are seeing more and more clients who feel less motivated or generally confused about the contribution they are making.
- Ebook – Review of the year – Learn how to guide your clients through a full review of their year to identify any achievements or missed opportunities with this 21 page e-book. We also provide a step-by-step guide to start the essential forward planning and goal setting for the year ahead.
Please note – Please include a reference and link back to this original blog if you wish to copy or share anything we have written: (cc) MyCoachingToolkit.com – 2022